Issue 503

News

BY NICK EVERETT SYDNEY — The branch of the Democratic Socialist Party previously located in Burwood has relocated to Sydney's south-west. A new Bankstown office was opened on July 26 with a toast to the Cuban revolution and a celebration of the
BY TONY ILTIS MELBOURNE — The Refugee Action Collective promoted its "no detention" model for processing refugees at a public meeting attended by more than 150 people at Brunswick Town Hall on July 30. The racism and inhumanity of Australia's
BY SUE BOLTON As the royal commission into the building industry continues its assault on militants in the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, state attacks on the Victorian branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
BY SIMON WOOD WOOLGOOLGA — It seems hardly a day goes by now without somebody, from ordinary people to the United Nations, criticising the Coalition government's prejudiced and inhumane mandatory detention policy. At 9am on July 26,
BY PIP HINMAN Some of the refugees rescued by the MV Tampa last August have been given refugee status and are being resettled in Australia. After 10 months in prison camps on Nauru and on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, 480 Iraqis, 56 Afghans
BY MELANIE SJOBERG SYDNEY — An early morning protest outside the NSW Department of Housing's Liverpool head office on July 30 turned into a 24-hour stop-work, as some 300 workers expressed their disgust with a management proclamation that they
BY SHANE BENTLEY SYDNEY — Members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) are again protesting against shipping company attempts to reflag Australian crewed and flagged ships as "flag of convenience" vessels with exploited Third World crews.
US President George Bush is preparing for a new war on Iraq using the pretext that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is threatening the world with “weapons of mass destruction”. Pentagon papers leaked on July 4 reveal plans for an assault on
BY TERRICA STRUDWICK ROCKHAMPTON — On July 29, Consolidated Meat Group decided to close the Lakes Creek meatworks after a seven-month industrial dispute. The 600 remaining staff, including management, have been laid off. The dispute
BY SARAH STEPHEN Alamdar Baktiyari and his uncle, Mahzer, were among a number of detainees caught up in disturbances inside the Woomera detention centre on July 28. Detainees told the August 1 Sydney Morning Herald that an Afghan man required
Geelong construction workers prepare for the building industry royal commission's return to Victoria on August 12 by proudly hoisting their flag on Geelong's largest building site in defiance of bosses' wishes. Unionists and supporters will rally at
BY PAUL OBOOHOV CANBERRA — Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) staff voted July 19 by more than 90% to reject a management draft industrial agreement. The draft included a pay rise of only 6.5% over two years (low by
Health workers reject pay offer BRISBANE — Non-nursing health unions rejected a Queensland government pay offer on August 1. The Labor government offered its 32,000 non-nursing health workers a pay increase of 3.5% or $23, whichever is the
BY PETER ROBSON NEWCASTLE — Students at campuses across the country are organising referendums calling for their universities to be declared “refugee safe havens”. “We want students to think about this question”, said campus refugee
BY EWAN SAUNDERS BRISBANE — Around 250 students at the University of Queensland successfully blockaded the university's senate meeting on August 1, preventing a vote that would have seen course places sold to wealthy students with lower entry
BY FELICITY MARTIN MELBOURNE — "We are not your enemies" was the message given by temporary protection visa holder Qureshi, at the Trade Unionists for Refugee Rights (TURR) kit launch at the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) August 1.
BY KATELYN MOUNTFORD SYDNEY — Plans for a week of on-campus activity around Tampa Day (August 26) on Sydney University are well underway after a hugely successful inaugural Refugee Collective meeting August 1. The 60-strong meeting was
BY SARAH STEPHEN "Offensive to human dignity — With these four words the UN human rights envoy, Justice Bhagwati, has encapsulated the moral vacuum at the heart of Australia's mandatory detention of refugees", wrote Howard Dick, an associate

World

BY SARAH STEPHEN British Home Secretary David Blunkett and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy agreed on July 12 to a timetable for the closure of the Sangatte Red Cross Centre. Sangatte has become a gathering point for asylum seekers attempting
BY GARRY M. LEECH NEW YORK — During the 1980s, the Reagan administration became mired in the Iran-contra scandal following revelations that it illegally sold weapons to Iran and used the proceeds to covertly arm and fund Nicaraguan "contra"
BY JOHN PILGER LONDON — It is 10 months since September 11, and still the great charade plays on. Having appropriated our shocked response to that momentous day, the rulers of the world have since ground our language into a paean of cliches and
BY ROHAN PEARCE On July 23, a US-supplied Israeli F-16 warplane dropped a 1000-kilogram bomb on an apartment block in Gaza City. The bomb killed 15 civilians, including nine children along with Hamas leader Saleh Shehade. Eleven of those killed
BY NATASHA IZATT LONDON — On July 17, 750,000 local government workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland went on strike in support of a pay increase. Between 70% and 80% of union members participated. Teachers aides, caretakers,
BY FIDEL CASTRO [The following is a slightly abridged version of a speech given on July 26 by Cuban President Fidel Castro at a rally of 150,000 people in the Cuban central province of Ciego de Avila.] History has proved that nothing could defeat
Pakistani teachers arrested Some 200 teachers were arrested in Lahore on July 29. They were about to protest against the Punjab provincial government's decision to privatise schools. Hundreds of cops had been deployed since early
BY MURRAY ADDISON  AUCKLAND — On July 27, New Zealand's third general election held under the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) electoral system election was held. The campaign was notable for the few issues raised and
BY NORM DIXON US President George Bush will order a massive military attack on Iraq sometime in the next six months. However, the US ruling class has yet to agree on exactly how the war will be conducted, what its eventual scale will be or on its
BY SARAH STEPHEN Dressed in riot gear, British police and immigration officers broke down the door of a mosque in Lye, West Midlands, with a battering ram in the early hours of July 24. Two Afghan asylum seekers who had sought sanctuary there 28
BY NORM DIXON US soldiers removed vital evidence from the scene of the July 1 wedding massacre in Oruzgan province, Afghanistan, according to a preliminary United Nations report leaked to the London Times. The details were published in the Times
Armed Israeli settlers who went on a rampage throughout Hebron on July 28 shot dead Nevine Musa Jamjoum, a 14-year-old Palestinian from the town. Tens of armed settlers went on a violent rampage, attacking Palestinians, breaking into houses

Culture

EmpireBy Michael Hardt andAntonio NegriHarvard University Press, 2000480 pages, $47 (pb) REVIEW BY ZANNY BEGG Since being published almost two years ago, Michael Hardt and Toni Negri's Empire has continued to create waves. The popularity of the
REVIEW BY MARGARET ALLUM All About My FatherDirected by Even BenestadScreened at the 49th Sydney Film Festival in June Even Benestad made documentary film about his father, but both had very different ideas about what the film would achieve.
Among the ancient rocks I pace,Scattered through the friendlyStringybarks, and gaping waterhole,Which feeds the parched red clay. And gazing on antipodean stone,I shield my eyes from glaringWinter, solstice sun. Then in a flash I am
The NavigatorsDirected by Ken LoachWritten by Rob DawberScreening in most major cities from August 8 REVIEW BY JANET BURSTALL Ken Loach's latest film, The Navigators, depicts the impact of privatisation on a group of former British Rail workers.
SYDNEY — On August 13, Dendy Opera Quays Cinemas' will screen two of John Pilger's acclaimed The Timor Conspiracy and his latest documentary, The New Rulers of The World. Pilger is a renowned Australian journalist and documentary filmmaker whose

Editorial

In the space of a week, the federal government shocked the world by voting against an optional protocol to the United Nations convention against torture, then aggressively dismissed a UN report which was highly critical of Australia's policy of